In full disclosure, I was not at The Rumpus event last night because I read it. I mean, I will start reading it. Actually, I have started already. Any literary event that your friend gets you into for free AND that earns you $20 (story below) merits a subscription.
In truth, I was there to support Davy Rothbart, fellow Ann Arborite and Community High School alumni. Davy is a perennial favorite of mine. I remember reading his book of short stories under the slanted roof of my tiny room in Paris, where you couldn't stand up straight in half the room but you could see the Eiffel Tower from the square window.
So there I am in a room of 200 people, sitting next to Shrage and Dustin, snapping away with his fancy schmancy camera. On stage is this hysterical and handsome author, Andrew Sean Greer, in a fantastic Comme des Garcons jacket with a knit panel at the back, and he's making a joke about having casted Michael Showalter (an upcoming speaker at the event) in the first musical he wrote when they were in college together. Then he's making a joke about doing press for his new book in Italy. Then he is joking about his "ex-husband," who happens to be his actual husband, though their marriage was possibly voided after Proposition 8, and is sitting next to me.
David is equally hysterical, friendly, and compliments my glasses. We are fast friends and gossip throughout the entire program.
When it's time for Jonathan Ames to speak, he does exactly what I want him to do: he asks for volunteers to jump on stage and have the chance to be interviewed. In exchange for $20. I love it! But I hesitate for a moment. Then I see someone else raise her hand, and I throw up both of mine.
I run up on stage and I proceed to tell the crowd that I 1) just lost my job because the company was having financial trouble, and 2) am in love with Jonathan Wingo. My heart is pounding with the surging adrenalin.
For the rest of the evening, I feel that hot $20 in my pocket, and I'm a little bit high. I am rejuvenated. I start thinking about Ann Arbor and moving back and hanging out with people like Davy, and working at a nice place and living a nice life and wondering if maybe Jonathan Wingo would come and live there with me. And maybe I can write stories and have successful funny readings, too.
Michael Showalter (Wet Hot American Summer) gets up and reminds us that "Boooooo, American Apparel and their affordable good-looking shirts!" (You kind of had to be there.) And he shows a hysterical parody he made of the NYT Weekender commercial. As I fall in love with him a little bit I remember that he went to Brown, too. And so did Andrew Sean Greer, my new favorite author that I haven't read yet!
Then Will Sheff gets up there (reminding me of Elliot Bergman of Nomo) and breaks my heart with his love songs and I am struck by his lyrics and his lyrical guitar playing and I can just picture the Greenpoint bar with the hipster girl in there who broke his heart and didn't deserve this poetic man. I hope he finds a woman who loves him for bringing his daily bouquet of flowers.
What an evening!